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Green Number Plates for Clean Cars Under Government Plan

Green coloured number plates will be issued for electric cars under government plans to encourage drivers to buy zero-emission vehicles.

Green number plates planned for electric cars in the UK

A consultation will be held on whether clean vehicles – vehicles that emit zero-emissions – should be given green number plates under new Government plans. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) says giving zero-emission vehicles - including electric cars - green number plates would give local authorities a visual identifier which they could use to enforce incentives for the drivers of such vehicles, like allowing them to use bus lanes or pay less for parking. 

Whilst these benefits are great for electric vehicle drivers, they also raise public awareness of electric vehicles.

Green number plates: What are they?

Green number plates are already being used by countries like Canada, China and Norway. These are available on zero-emission vehicles and are used to encourage more drivers to drive more environmentally friendly vehicles. 

Plans for the UK to adopt green number plates as part of the Government’s push to raise awareness for zero-emission vehicles were announced just last month (September 2019). 

The DfT has released three potential designs for green number plates that could be used under new plans. The first design is an all-green plate, the second is a standard plate with a green column on the left-hand side and the third plate is the same as standard plates but features a green circle instead of a column. 

The consultation will consider potential designs for the plates, which could include entirely green on the front, back or both sides of the vehicle, or a green symbol.

green plates1

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling said: 

“Adding a green badge of honour to these new clean vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in the UK, and might just encourage people to think about how one could fit into their own travel routine.”

Electric vehicles in the UK on the rise

The rise in popularity for electric cars is on the rise. So far this year, the UK has seen an exponential rise in registrations of battery electric cars. All-electric cars still only count for a fraction of total car sales and there are still massive hurdles to pass. 

The lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles in the UK is still one of the biggest challenges we face, this includes a lack of charging points on roads and the lack of choice with low cost models.

green plates2

2019 data from January to September 
Source: SMMT

Incentives to choose zero emissions cars

One of the main reasons for switching to electric cars are the benefits it brings from the Government. Green plates would be use to further incentivise driving electric cars. Whilst some think this is a great idea and it may help tempt those considering electric vehicles, there are some sceptics. 

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “While the sentiment seems right, there are question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour or alternatively it could foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles. 

“On the face of it, drivers we’ve questioned don’t seem too impressed – only a fifth think it’s a good idea and the majority said the number plates wouldn’t have the effect of making them any more likely to switch to an electric vehicle. 

“Incentives may make a difference in the short term and the possibility of free parking and the permission to use bus lanes at certain times could encourage some to switch, however many drivers remain cool on the idea even with this encouragement. Also, if these perks were to do their job and encourage people to switch, councils would have to quickly get rid of them again as they’d be losing parking revenue and no doubt be accused of allowing bus lanes to become clogged with electric vehicles. 

“Given their relatively high upfront costs, only those drivers that could afford to make the switch to an electric vehicle would benefit – leaving the vast majority who still rely on petrol and diesel cars losing out. 

“We continue to believe that the best way of encouraging drivers to ‘go electric’ is for the Government to be providing the right financial incentives at the point of purchase, and investing in better charging infrastructure.”

Government funding for electric vehicle infrastructure

The past couple of years has seen the Government introduce measures to reduce the emissions we emit as a country. One of the measures the Government has taken is introducing Clean Air Zones and ULEZ zones in major cities and expects to introduce more throughout the UK. 

This year, the Government also announced that they are doubling funding for on-street electric car charging, an additional £2.5 million has been invested to bring more chargepoints to residential streets. This is in addition to an investment of £400 million in electric car infrastructure. 

What do you think of the Government introducing green number plates for clean cars?

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22nd of October 2019

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